Ronny Lam

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SDN: 5 Things CIOs Must Know

SDN Reduces Human Middleware

As networks have become increasingly complex, organizations rely on networking staff to manage this complexity . This adds a layer of people between the technology and the outcomes, resulting in the creation of what many have taken to called human middleware. With SDN fully deployed, there will be two levels of networking skill needed: The first will be a lower-level skill set that requires knowledge of the hardware side of networking – connecting cables, placing equipment and so forth. The second will be SDN experts, which are networking pros that know how to “program” SDN-capable networks. If SDN achieves its goal of reducing complexity via automation, and thus reducing the need for staff to perform a variety of manual tasks, fewer people will be required.

SDN adds a form of complexity to the network that you cannot solve with the division of people skills proposed in this piece. On the hardware side I fully agree, you need those. But on the configuration and automation side you need networking skills and programming skills. The two of them combined is still a rare breed. But if you are lucky enough to find them, keep them. The other thing is that in my opinion you don’t need an SDN-capable network in order to program and automate your network. Let the networking guy and the programmer work together and they will automate the hell out of your existing network. But you can also buy tools for that.